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Countywide : Elys Contend Their Defense Inadequate

Trustee James T. (Tom) Ely and his wife--who were convicted in June of fraud and embezzlement from the Ventura County Community College District--told a Superior Court judge Friday that they did not receive adequate legal representation during their trial and asked the court to investigate the matter.

Judge Lawrence Storch has asked the public defender’s office to decide whether private attorneys James M. Farley and Willard P. Wiksell handled the case correctly. Tom and Ingrid Ely were asked to meet with officials next week to discuss the attorneys’ performances.

After making their request during a court hearing Friday morning, the couple declined to give further details to reporters.

“My counsel has been a very dear and close friend,” Tom Ely said. “It’s very hard to raise the issue. . . . It’s time for us to consider the things that are in our best interest.”

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Farley said he was not upset by Ely’s allegation.

“It just means he disagrees with the way I tried the case,” Farley said. “He has to have another lawyer look at it to see if I did something other lawyers would have done. . . . I’m fairly secure.”

The Elys, Farley, Wiksell and attorneys for the public defender’s office are scheduled to appear before Storch at 11 a.m. Aug. 23 to discuss the issue again.


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